The Malawi Bureau of Standards on Tuesday impounded equipment belonging to Jai Sai, a Lilongwe-based firm that was manufacturing illicit liquor packaged in plastic bottles.
MBS director-general Davlin Chokazinga said they were compelled to act because the company was acting in contravention of the MBS Act.
“This is just a start. We are going to close all companies that are still producing liquor and packaging it in plastic bottles because the substance is dangerous and can even kill people,” he said.
A statement from MBS said a High Court ruling of 2016 enforced what the MBS had already told the liquor manufacturers, to stop packaging liquor in plastic bottles.
“After the enforcement was made in 2016 and looking at continued proliferation of the illicit liquor packaged in plastic bottles on the local market, MBS instituted a special team to carry out night surveillances at various road blocks between September 8 and 10 2017, “reads the statement in part.
Despite the order, MBS team discovered that Jai Sai was still producing liquor packaged in plastic bottles which is in total contravention of MBS Act, MS 210:1995 clause 5.1 and indeed the High Court ruling on the same, according to the statement.
“We were not satisfied with the ruling of the lower court; hence, we appealed to the High Court and it ordered that in addition to the fine imposed by the lower court on each offender, a fine equivalent in value to the 973 cartons of illicit liquor impounded by the MBS in presence of the police was imposed on the offenders,” said Chokazinga.
Drug Fight Malawi executive director Nelson Zakeyu commended MBS for the bold stance, saying all producers of illegal liquor must be flushed out of the country.
“This illegal liquor is destroying our youth and to hear that a factory has been closed it shows that we are heading in the right direction.
“Our plea is that government must be vigilant because the illicit liquor is affecting our children and society as whole,” he said. said Zakeyu.
Jai Sai managing director Kamara Silva confirmed in an interview on Tuesday that his property has been sealed by the MBS, but said he is talking to his lawyers to have it reopened.
“Our lawyers are handling the matter so that we find a way forward,” he said.